Über den Autor
Plato (428/427 or 424/423 - 348/347 BC) was an Athenian philosopher during the Classical period in Ancient Greece, founder of the Platonist school of thought, and the Academy, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world.
He is widely considered the pivotal figure in the history of Ancient Greek and Western philosophy, along with his teacher, Socrates, and his most famous student, Aristotle.[a] Plato has also often been cited as one of the founders of Western religion and spirituality. The so-called Neoplatonism of philosophers like Plotinus and Porphyry influenced Saint Augustine and thus Christianity. Alfred North Whitehead once noted: "the safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato."
Plato was the innovator of the written dialogue and dialectic forms in philosophy. Plato is also considered the founder of Western political philosophy. His most famous contribution is the theory of Forms known by pure reason, in which Plato presents a solution to the problem of universals known as Platonism (also ambiguously called either Platonic realism or Platonic idealism). He is also the namesake of Platonic love and the Platonic solids.
His own most decisive philosophical influences are usually thought to have been along with Socrates, the pre-Socratics Pythagoras, Heraclitus and Parmenides, although few of his predecessors' works remain extant and much of what we know about these figures today derives from Plato himself.[b] Unlike the work of nearly all of his contemporaries, Plato's entire body of work is believed to have survived intact for over 2,400 years. Although their popularity has fluctuated over the years, the works of Plato have never been without readers since the time they were written
Because of the absence of writings by Socrates, we only know of his philosophical beliefs through the writings of his students. Fortunately many of these have survived through to today and provide an excellent primary source for the understanding of this great philosopher. Of all the students' writings none are more comprehensive and informative with regard to Socrates than those of Plato. Contained in this volume are some of the most important of those writings by Plato. In "Euthyphro" we find a dialogue between Socrates and Euthyphro, a religious expert, concerning the definition of piety or holiness. This dialogue is important for it examines the injustice of the charge against Socrates of not believing in the gods in whom the city believed. In the "Apology" we find Plato's version of the speech given by Socrates in his defense at his trial. In "Crito" we find a conversation between Socrates and his wealthy friend Crito regarding justice, injustice, and the appropriate response to injustice. In this dialogue we see Socrates refusing Crito's offering to finance his escape from prison on the basis that injustice cannot be solved by further injustice. In "Phaedo" we find a dialogue depicting the death of Socrates. Collectively these works detail the final days of Socrates and provide a profound example of the virtues for which Socrates both lived and died for.